AKA Philip Orin Parmalee
Phil Parmelee
Parmelee AT BELMONT, 1910
Photo and text from Collection of J. N. Parmelee

  Biography First Cargo Flight Resources  

Headstone of Philip Parmelee
Photo courtesy of J. N. Parmelee
Overturned By Wind On Exhibition Flight At North Yakima, Wash.
Newsclipping, Collection of J. N. Parmelee

     Philip O. Parmelee, son of Charles Parmelee, St. Johns, and a former Marion boy, who was considered to be one of the best and most careful aviators in America, fell to his death in North Yakima, Wash., Saturday afternoon, June 1, 1912, before the eyes of thousands of visitors to the fair grounds.
     Philip was holder of the American endurance record in aviation and was used to remaining in the air for three hours without accident, had been up only three minutes when a contrary gust of wind caught the tail of his aeroplane and turned it completely over. Parmelee clung to the frame work, but the plane shot straight for the ground from a height of 400 feet, where it crumbled into a shapeless heap in a field three miles distant from the fair grounds. The young aviator was beneath the wreckage.
     Officials of the fair and attendants of the hanger rushed across the open fields to the spot where the wreck lay, but Parmelee was dead when they reached him.
     Parmelee, an especial protege of Wilbur Wright, who died on Thursday, was a carefully trained airman. It is believed that some imprecedented atmospheric condition must have had a part in causing the wreck of his machine.      J. Clifford Turpin, grief stricken over the death of his friend and flying partner, Philip Parmelee, has announced he will fly no more.
     Turpin, himself, had a narrow escape from death Decoration Day at Seattle, Wash., when his machine crashed to the ground, killing a spectator and injuring fifteen. Turpin left at once from North Yakima, Wash., to St. Johns with the body of Parmelee.
     Philip Parmelee was 27 years of age. He spent his early years with his parents in this vicinity and it was here that his mother was killed in a run a way accident. He leaves a devoted father and a host of admiring friends in Marion, St. Johns and many other places.

"Skyman" Philip Parmelee, first pilot to in-
struct the U.S. Army Air Corps, drop live bombs,
use wireless communications, drop a para-
chutist, fly air freight, and search for criminals
from the air, was raised in Clinton County. He
trained under Wilbur and Orville Wright, dying
tragically in North Yakima, Washington while
performing a flying exhibition.
J. N. Parmelee, cousin of Phil, at his grave,
St. Johns, Michigan.

Editor's Note:
If you have any more information on this Early Bird,
please contact me.
E-mail to Ralph Cooper

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